Going Beyond Automated Weather Alerts

This article on new flood monitoring technology caught our eye for many reasons. It’s about cities in Virginia which are working on a system of water level and related monitors that are meant to provide an advanced warning system for flooding risk. The project – called StormSense – is part of a bigger project to develop new technologies that make cities more resilient and secure. Because of the many awards the StormSense project has received, we think it has strong possibilities for expansion beyond coastal Virginia.

There are a number of implications for emergency notification systems that we think are worth talking about:

  1. Although the alerts generated by this system are only going to emergency managers for now, this system may eventually be available for automated alerts, in much the same way that Hyper-Reach monitors National Weather Service warnings and sends out automated alerts to the affected areas. So, as this technology develops and spreads, we could have new inputs to more accurately warn citizens of hazards that may affect them.
  2. This technology leverages the Amazon cloud, and we think that’s important, since we’ve moved much of our infrastructure to AWS’ platform. As we’ve talked about before, there are enormous scalability, reliability and cost advantages to using the cloud for computing and communication technologies of all kinds. Which is why we’re moving much of Hyper-Reach to cloud computing platforms.
  3. While this technology is specifically about floods, there are many more potential sources of automated inputs to emergency notification systems. For example, there was this story the other day about sensors that can recognize the sound of gunfire, determine its location and even the caliber of the weapon and lock down a school. Although the article didn’t mention emergency alerts, that’s an obvious potential application. As artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IOT) expands, we can expect to see many more opportunities to generate alerts to warn the public that require little or no human intervention. It may sound like science fiction now, but in 10 or 20 years these ideas may seem commonplace.

As these – and related – technologies develop, you can count on Hyper-Reach to keep an eye out for their availability and usefulness for emergency notification purposes. After all, we were one of the first to offer automated weather alerts.


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